Jason is a freshman studying Computer Science/Computer Engineering at the University of Virginia. In the summer of 2011 he is riding with a group of college students on a 70 day, 4000 mile bike ride from Baltimore to Portland. Money raised by our riders goes to support 4K for Cancer's mission of spreading awareness, fostering hope and uniting communities across the county in the fight against cancer. We do this through cancer education programs, health screenings and by visiting cancer patients at hospitals, cancer centers and hospices each day during the ride. 4K also gives financial support to local, cancer centric non-profits in the communities we bike through.
I took my first trip to Taiwan when I was nine years old. My parents told me one day, and the next week we were off, right in the middle of the school year. No doubt, I was excited and honestly, the main thing on my mind was getting to skip school for a vacation. When I got there, I met my grandma for the first time. She wasn’t much older than my mom is now, but I’m still surprised by how old she looked. The reason was cancer. I barely understood then, but she had been going through numerous treatments and that was why we were visiting. During that one month with my grandma, I didn’t, and probably still don’t, understand how much she was suffering, but I know that she was fighting. Even though it wasn’t easy, my grandma took time to show me Taiwan, cook amazing dishes, and to really just fight past cancer.
I went back to school that spring still naive about how serious my grandma’s condition was. Next year, my parents took another trip to Taiwan with my younger brother. Around one week into the trip, my parents called me at home. My grandma had passed away from cancer. I didn’t understand how it could’ve happened, especially when I had just seen her last year. Now, I just wish I could’ve gotten to know her better.
To make things worse, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer the following year. I was so scared. I didn’t what to do or even what I could do. My mom was in and out of the hospital for surgery and checkups and time passed by in a blur as I could do was watch and pray. Fortunately, the doctors treating my mom were capable and I am blessed to still have my mom with me today. It still scares me when I think about how close I came to losing her.
I want to dedicate this bike ride to the memory of my grandma, in honor of my mom, and in remembrance of the fight that they and many other loved ones have gone through with cancer. My hope is that through this ride, I can better understand what my grandma and mom went through and provide hope for my family and other people struggling with cancer and their families.